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Arnoud Carol, Renger F. Witkamp, Harry J. Wichers, and Marco Mensink

The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of bovine colostrum to attenuate postexercise decline in immune function. The authors evaluated the time course of a number of immune variables after short-term intense exercise in 9 male athletes after 10 d of supplementation with either colostrum or skim-milk powder. To increase the stress on the immune system subjects performed a glycogen-depletion trial the evening before the endurance trial (90 min at 50% Wmax). Blood samples were taken before the glycogen-depletion trial, before and after the endurance trial, and the next morning, ~22 hr after cessation of the exercise. Plasma cortisol levels increased over time, reaching the highest level directly after exercise, and were still elevated ~22 hr after exercise compared with baseline values (p < .001). Neutrophil cell count was increased after exercise and dropped below starting values 22 hr after exercise (time effect p < .001). Circulating immunoglobulins did not change over time. A significant time effect was seen for interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-1-receptor agonist, and C-reactive protein, with levels being higher directly after exercise (p < .05). Other cytokines (interferon-γ, IL-1a, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-a) did not show a time effect. No differences were seen between colostrum and skim-milk powder in any of the investigated variables. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that intense exercise affects several variables of the immune system. Colostrum did not alter any of the postexercise immune variables compared with skimmilk powder, suggesting no role for bovine colostrum supplementation in preventing postexercise immune suppression after short-term intense exercise.

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Rieneke Terink, Michiel G.J. Balvers, Maria T. Hopman, Renger F. Witkamp, Marco Mensink, and Jacqueline M.T. Klein Gunnewiek

Magnesium is essential for optimal sport performance, generating an interest to monitor its status in athletes. However, before measuring magnesium status in blood could become routine, more insight into its diurnal fluctuations and effects of exercise itself is necessary. Therefore, we measured the effect of an acute bout of exercise on ionized (iMg) and total plasma magnesium (tMg) in blood obtained from 18 healthy well-trained endurance athletes (age, 31.1 ± 8.1 yr.; VO2max, 50.9 ± 7.5 ml/kg/min) at multiple time points, and compared this with a resting situation. At both days, 7 blood samples were taken at set time points (8:30 fasted, 11:00, 12:30, 13:30, 15:00, 16:00, 18:30). The control day was included to correct for a putative diurnal fluctuation of magnesium. During the exercise day, athletes performed a 90 min bicycle ergometer test (70% VO2max) between 11:00 and 12:30. Whole blood samples were analyzed for iMg and plasma for tMg concentrations. Both concentrations decreased significantly after exercise (0.52 ± 0.04–0.45 ± 0.03 mmol/L and 0.81 ± 0.07–0.73 ± 0.06 mmol/L, respectively, p < .001) while no significant decline was observed during that time-interval on control days. Both, iMg and tMg, returned to baseline, on average, 2.5 hr after exercise. These findings suggest that timing of blood sampling to analyze Mg status is important. Additional research is needed to establish the recovery time after different types of exercise to come to a general advice regarding the timing of magnesium status assessment in practice.

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Floris C. Wardenaar, Rianne Dijkhuizen, Ingrid J.M. Ceelen, Emma Jonk, Jeanne H.M. De Vries, Renger F. Witkamp, and Marco Mensink

Purpose:

The objective of this study was to investigate whether ultramarathon runners were able to meet nutrition recommendations during a training period and on a competition day.

Methods:

In preparation for a 60 or 120 km ultramarathon covering a varied terrain, male and female ultramarathon runners (n = 68, age 46.5 ± 7.1 y) reported habitual dietary intake during three independent days using a web-based 24-hr recall and questionnaires. The diet was assessed using probability of inadequacy or by qualitative evaluation using reference dietary intakes or sports nutrition recommendations. A small group of 120 km runners (n = 4) was observed continuously during the race. After the race, 60 km runners (n = 41) received a questionnaire to assess dietary intake and gastrointestinal (GI) distress on the race day. Spearman rank correlation coefficients (r) were applied to investigate the association between intake and general GI distress symptoms.

Results:

In men and women, habitual mean carbohydrate (CHO) intake was lower than recommended, as was mean protein intake by women. CHO intake during the race was <60 g/h in 75% of the athletes. A large variation of nutrient and fluid intake was seen. GI distress during the race was reported in 82% of the runners; severe GI distress was low. In general, moderate, mostly negative, correlations with nutrient intake were seen for GI distress.

Conclusions:

Sports nutrition recommendations for the habitual diet were not achieved. During a competition day, a large variation was found in nutrient intake; this may be related to a high incidence of GI distress.

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Floris C. Wardenaar, Ingrid J.M. Ceelen, Jan-Willem Van Dijk, Roland W.J. Hangelbroek, Lore Van Roy, Britte Van der Pouw, Jeanne H.M. De Vries, Marco Mensink, and Renger F. Witkamp

The use of nutritional supplements is highly prevalent among athletes. In this cross-sectional study, we assessed the prevalence of nutritional supplement use by a large group of Dutch competitive athletes in relation to dietary counseling. A total of 778 athletes (407 males and 371 females) completed a web-based questionnaire about the use of nutritional supplements. Log-binomial regression models were applied to estimate crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) for the use of individual nutritional supplements in athletes receiving dietary counseling as compared with athletes not receiving dietary counseling. Of the athletes, 97.2% had used nutritional supplements at some time during their sports career, whereas 84.7% indicated having used supplements during the last 4 weeks. The top ranked supplements used over the last 4 weeks from dietary supplements, sport nutrition products and ergogenic supplements were multivitamin and mineral preparations (42.9%), isotonic sports drinks (44.1%) and caffeine (13.0%). After adjustment for elite status, age, and weekly exercise duration, dietary counseling was associated with a higher prevalence of the use of vitamin D, recovery drinks, energy bars, isotonic drinks with protein, dextrose, beta-alanine, and sodium bicarbonate. In contrast, dietary counseling was inversely associated with the use of combivitamins, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, retinol, energy drinks and BCAA and other amino acids. In conclusion, almost all athletes had used nutritional supplements at some time during their athletic career. Receiving dietary counseling seemed to result in better-informed choices with respect to the use of nutritional supplements related to performance, recovery, and health.